Shane MacGowan, the iconic frontman of The Pogues, was commemorated in a moving funeral ceremony on Friday in County Tipperary, Ireland. The service, which celebrated the life of the celebrated Anglo-Irish musician, drew an illustrious crowd, including film star Johnny Depp, musician Nick Cave, and Irish President Michael D.
Higgins. MacGowan passed away last week at the age of 65, leaving behind a rich legacy in the world of music. The funeral was a testament to MacGowan's profound impact on the arts, with Johnny Depp leading the first Prayer of the Faithful and paying homage to the "maestro" MacGowan.
Aiden Gillen of "Game of Thrones" fame and former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams were among the dignitaries who offered readings. The event was enriched with musical tributes, including Nick Cave's heartfelt rendition of "A Rainy Night in Soho," accompanied by Colm Mac Con Iomaire on the fiddle and Glen Hansard on guitar.
Cáit O’Riordan, MacGowan's former bandmate, delivered a poignant performance of The Pogues's "A Man You Don't Meet Everyday" alongside John Francis Flynn, a renowned Irish folk musician. Glen Hansard, known for his Oscar-winning musical ‘Once,’ stirred the audience with "Fairytale of New York," The Pogues's most famous hit, earning a standing ovation.
Bono's Tribute, Dublin Procession
Bono, U2's lead singer, although unable to attend, paid his respects with a recorded reading. Earlier in the day, Dublin witnessed a public procession in MacGowan's honor, where his coffin, draped in the Irish flag, was paraded through the city streets in a horse-drawn carriage.
Mourners lined the roads, paying silent tribute to the musical legend. The procession was accompanied by MacGowan’s music, both planned and spontaneous. The Artane Band, a group of young musicians, played "Fairytale of New York," joined in song by the crowd, while others performed "Dirty Old Town" and "A Pair of Brown Eyes." Victoria Mary Clarke, MacGowan’s wife, expressed her heartfelt gratitude on Instagram for the overwhelming support and the efforts to make the funeral "magnificent and magical." She reflected on MacGowan's aversion to funerals, noting the irony in the large turnout for his own.
MacGowan's health had been declining, culminating in his death on November 30. He had recently been treated for an infection at Dublin's St. Vincent’s Hospital. The funeral procession began at 11 a.m. local time, winding through Dublin before the service at St.
Mary of the Rosary church in Nenagh, as confirmed by Father Pat Gilbert. MacGowan, who had battled health issues for years, including a 2015 pelvis break and a diagnosis of viral encephalitis, was also known for his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse.
Clarke, in a poignant Instagram post, invited those who wished to honor MacGowan to show compassion and respect to the homeless, echoing the singer's own sentiments. The funeral service highlighted MacGowan's deep connection to his Irish roots, with his sister Siobhan praising County Tipperary as his "spiritual home." Clarke's eulogy painted a vivid picture of MacGowan as an adventurous soul, pushing the limits of human experience.
The ceremony concluded with a stirring rendition of ‘The Parting Glass’ by MacGowan’s former Pogues bandmates. As the congregation applauded, MacGowan’s wicker coffin was carried out by mourners, including Johnny Depp, marking a fitting farewell to a music legend whose influence transcended genres and generations.